love what you do, and do what you love

15780996_717133511784732_3064813984127960738_n

I realize I’m 12 days late with this post, but hey, it’s still January, right? Right. Moving on….

2016 was one heck of a year.  Not necessarily all good either. School was rough, my health got worse, and my stress went through the roof as a result of those things. School got even worse, to the point where I missed passing a class by 9 points.

9 points.

 

Of course, as I posted yesterday, I decided that nursing, and nursing school, were not for me, and not what I was meant to do. I dropped my classes today, and I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted. I’m a bit wary, because this is new – the past 4 years has been nursing school for me (or the prerequisites for nursing school), and now it’s not. I’m at peace with it though. I feel good about my decision, and I know it was the right choice to make.

12195755_762434697217129_3791305754101887683_n

I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to even try nursing school. Had I not tried, I would never know, and nursing school allowed me the opportunity to realize who I am. I made wonderful friends, I discovered that I am a strong person, even when I don’t want to be. I also discovered that my skills are best used elsewhere haha.

2016 brought on the plans for a trip to Germany. They are well underway, and we have made so much progress in our planning and saving and preparing. I cannot wait to travel with my amazing, selfless husband. I’m still in awe that he planned such a trip because he knew I have always wanted to go to Germany. We’ve been learning German together, researching areas we’re visiting to find things to do, and planning our days in certain cities. It has been a wonderful time.

I have some plans for 2017, and I know I will achieve them. I received a Happy Planner (mini) for Christmas from my wonderful Mom, and I decided that I’d use it, not for school, but for other activities. Sure, that means (meant) two planners, but it means that things are easier to see. I plan on working out, and I set it up so I start low and build. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, like I have in the past, and give up because it’s too difficult for me to achieve. As the months go on, I plan to add “weights” to my cardio – in this case, weights is not lifting weights necessarily, but things like lunges, squats, planks, kettlebell swings, and so on. I also plan to add a day or two of yoga as time progresses to work on my flexibility, and help me get some more intense stretching in. Plus, back pain. haha. This spring/summer/fall I plan to ride my bike with Kalen more often, something we will both enjoy. The end game is to be in better shape, and healthier of course, for when we go to Germany. Some cities offer the option to rent bicycles and “tour” the city, and we’d like to do that, in addition to the walking we’ll be doing of course!

I also plan to make and list more jewelry, cowls, and other items to my Etsy shop. I did really well at Christmas selling my  Stethoscope Heart Necklace to the point where I ran out temporarily! I sold a few cowls that were made to order, which was exciting, and the buyer LOVED them, which was even MORE exciting!

Me, showing two examples of how it can be worn, and then 1 of the 4 I made for her. 

Another goal, as of now, is to get into the school that offers the program I feel is the best fit for me, and find a job! I’d also like to go through and really purge. Kalen and I have accumulated a mass amount of stuff we don’t need or use, and it’s just taking up space and creating clutter. I’d like to go through and donate a large amount of clothing, reorganize our book collection, reorganize our games and our office closet, sell what items I can (such as care plan books I will no longer need), and just clean the house. Dust, vacuum, toss, put away – it needs to be done!

I also want Kalen and I to go to church services regularly. I used to go weekly, but then the service time changes, and it was less often. As time went on, particularly with the addition of both of us in school, our attendance dwindled to nothing. Now, the last time I was there was sometime in May. I want to work on my relationship with God, and make it stronger. I’d also like to curb my swearing, my doubting, and my general attitude. I want to be a more Godly and kind person. Lofty goals, but I know I can do it.

12208682_174946932850768_5353355190527700536_n

So, there is my more detailed update of my life, and what is going on. I know it’s not the most exciting, but it’s mine, and I love it and I’m thankful for it, and for those who are in it.

blog siggy

once a quitter, always a quitter

374838_268121413231996_204929142884557_800744_433172988_nI made a pretty big decision today – I am quitting nursing school. The more and more I went through it, the more I realized my heart isn’t in it. Last semester was rough. I ended up not passing a class by 9 test points. I had been feeling for quite some time that I didn’t want to be a nurse, but I kept getting told “You’ve come so far! You have to finish!” and so I stuck it out. I thought that God was directing me to nursing, but I think he was directing me to going back to school. I chose nursing because we weren’t sure if Kalen would find a good job in this area, and I knew that I could find one as a nurse. I didn’t pursue it for the passion of nursing, but more for the job security. Don’t get me wrong – I liked working with patients, but I don’t want to be responsible for them. I was originally wait-listed, but managed to get in. As I look back on Facebook memories and posts, before I was in the program, my posts were generally happy. Once I was in the program, even before it was difficult, they weren’t so happy. I know the material, but in terms of applying it critically to nursing, I’m not so great at that. And nursing isn’t just knowing, you have to be able to do. As this semester was starting, I realized just how miserable I was. I would spend my days crying and/or sleeping away my depression. Well, not that that is possible, but you get the idea.

I won’t be just doing nothing though. I’m going to look for a job, and also pursue a Bachelor of Science Business in Healthcare Management through an online university that allows you to work as quickly or as slowly as possible. My goal is to work as quickly as possible. And of course, this is assuming I am accepted. But, I feel that clerical-type positions are what I’m better suited for, particularly management type ones. I am stupidly organized, and I like to take charge. I’m a perfectionist. And I did well at office work before, and I know I will again. It will also be a 9-5 type job, which I’d enjoy.

I am disappointed in myself, not for not finishing, but for choosing to spend my time and money towards something I wasn’t passionate about. I truly thought that I’d learn to really love it, but while there were things I DID love, I knew it wasn’t the right choice for me. My plan is to work to help pay down the loans that I’ve accumulated, and of course put more towards our house and Germany savings accounts.

I also feel like I’ve disappointed Kalen, family, and friends, but at the same time, I can’t do something to make anyone else happy if I’m not happy. So, tomorrow I’m going to go and drop my classes. All of them. I’m also going to call the online university back to see what I can do to get the ball rolling, and then I’m going to fine tune my resume and start applying to clerical positions in the area.

I am rather hurt by my nursing school friends, however. When I failed, and they knew it, no one reached out to me over the entire break to see how I was doing. Not once. They did, however, manage to text me and complain about the upcoming semester that I would have been in with them (but due to failing, that changed). Not once. And when I finally brought it up and said that my break was spent with me being miserable and just hoping for a text asking if I was okay, one person responded and said “She thought it’d be too raw for me.” Oh, but talking about your next semester and how you’re not looking forward to it isn’t raw? I was just really hurt by that, and even after I mentioned it, that was the only response I received from one out of the four friends. So, I feel pretty disposable at this point.

But anyway, I will try for a more life-centered update soon, but I know I have posted about my nursing school journey, and probably made it sound like I was more into it than I was,and I wanted to just post this and updat you all.

 

blog siggy

Summertime Fun in Pictures

My last post was free of any pictures, so I thought I would share a few from this summer. The bottom ones are from going to see Dave Matthews Band at Alpine Valley with my mom, sister, cousin, cousin’s husband, and sister’s friend. We made friends with the two guys who were tailgating next to us, and it was an amazing time, as always! I love seeing DMB live, and Alpine Valley never disappoints!

Some were random Snapchats (I’m amber330 there), and some random selfies. I got to enjoy the pool to myself one day, and we were all swimming on another.

Also, cats in baskets and bags. Because cats.

blog siggy

Menu Plan Monday #1 [7/11-7/15]

One of my favorite type of blog post to read is a menu plan. I’m insanely nosy, particularly with food. Whenever I go to my mom or aunt’s house, I always peek in their fridge and freezer to see what they have going on. I don’t know why, but it fascinates me.

Look, I know I’m weird. This isn’t news to me.

So I thought that since I like to know what everyone is eating, I should share what we eat here! My plan is to do this weekly, and eventually I’ll have more pictures to share. 🙂

A few bits to know – I don’t plan breakfast or lunch. Kalen tends to take dinner leftovers for his lunch, and I just eat whatever. For breakfast, he’s been eating a banana and usually a fiber bar while at work. If I eat breakfast, I make some eggs and possibly toast. I usually keep is relatively simple for myself. My lunch can be anything from a sandwich to soap to “snacks” so I don’t plan those.

We also don’t menu plan for Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes a day will get pushed to the weekend (if we decide to eat out or end up swimming), but we play the weekend by ear.

Monday:  Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce, Corn on the Grill, and grilled zucchini (rubbed with a bit of olive oil and some homemade Arthur Bryant’s seasoning).

Tuesday: Some pork and cheese tamales from a place nearby, yellow rice, and possibly some black beans. Does anyone else just love black beans?

Wednesday: Chermoula Chicken (we won’t be making it into skewers), rice pilaf, and some green beans (I top mine with a tiny bit of butter and garlic salt).

Thursday: Grilled Turkey Meatloaf (I’ll have to share how we do this – so tasty!), some homemade Sriracha Mac & Cheese (I made this last year after a trip to Wisconsin where I picked up some Sriracha cheese, and it was so good!), and salad (yay for garden lettuce!).

Friday: Crispy Baked Chicken Wings, quinoa (I’ll have to share this too – so simple and tasty!), and green beans.

So there you have it!!! What are you eating this week?

 

blog siggy

Whoa! June Already!?

large

I can’t believe it has been over two months since I’ve last updated here! Wowzers! I’m so terrible at being consistent with updating, but I blame school for that!

The spring 2016 semester ended well, and I passed all my classes. I am so glad that in 2012 I prayed and prayed about it when I was unable to find a new job, and took the plunge and enrolled in a local community college to knock out my prerequisites classes (English, Microbiology, Algebra, etc.), because this has been the best decision I’ve made, other than marrying Kalen of course.

I took a summer course – that actually ends on Thursday next week! I decided to take my statistics course as a Maymester to get it out of the way prior to the fall. I figured I had put it off for long enough, and I do NOT want to take it with Adult 1 in the fall! I also didn’t want to take it from June to August because that is the real part of summer. I can handle doing it in 4 weeks during May and the beginning of June – it isn’t warm enough here yet to enjoy swimming all the time, and so far it hasn’t been bad at all. Four people I know were taking this class, and I met a new friend through this class – the six of us are all in the nursing program too!

The above picture on the left was so I could show how my makeup held up – the left side of it was 7:30am, and the right was 8:00pm and my makeup still looked freshly applied! I got so many compliments that day, and have had a few people even remark on how it looked after the fact, because they remembered. The right picture was when I received my Bonbons – Younique’s new tinted lip balm! I LOVE those! It’s such an easy way to add color without worrying about it being 100% perfect like you’d have to do with lipstick or gloss or even a stain. Plus they’re so moisturizing! I’m sold! You can check it out HERE if you are interested in Younique products! If you have questions or need help color matching, let me know! Also, I just realized I’m wearing the same shirt in those pictures, but they were both different days….haha!

13322081_1308271489186295_706092911196611544_n

This is our current monthly Kudos, and can I tell you how excited I am!? Because I got SUPER giddy and excited!!!! I snatched this bundle up immediately, because if I were to buy all four of those items, I’d be spending $139. Saving $40? Sign me up! If you want flawless skin, this is for you! Seriously though, this company/makeup has changed my life, for the better, so I want to share the love with everyone I meet!

Okay, enough gushing about makeup…haha!! I recently quit my job that I had at the school. I have had health problems for what feels like my entire life (okay, not really that long….), and I was consistently calling off because I was sick. I called off three of my four scheduled days, and realized that I was doing nothing but letting my coworkers and boss down, so I felt it best if I quit. I miss my job already, and my coworkers, but I did what was in my best interest, and really, in their best interest as well.

Life in general is honestly really awesome right now. Kalen and I are still saving for a future home, the cats are wonderful, and I have way too much fun with Snapchat filters.

I’m excited for the real summer weather to kick in, so I can spend my days in the pool, in the garden, and enjoying the sunshine! I plan to do some super cleaning this summer too, weed through my clothing even more than I have already, packing up certain items (my owl collection for one, because I don’t want to have to keep dusting them all!), and of course making items for the Etsy shop so I can be fully stocked come fall/winter. I have a lot of new items I need to put together and list, and I want to crochet more items to list too. Lots of summer plans, y’all! I cannot wait!

I’m also going to be getting back in the swing of working out and dieting. I need to consistently use my workout bike, and I used an Amazon card I received for my birthday this year to buy resistance bands (the kind that loop), and some sliders for carpet/wood floors, so I need to work those into a routine as well. Now that it’s almost summer it will be easier to eat fresh produce, especially when our gardens start producing lots of yummy goodies.

And on that note, I think I should head to bed! I have some lab work in the morning (just my normal labs that I have every three months to monitor my A1C), and so I’ll be a real beast if I don’t get enough sleep hahaha!!!

Also, please pray for me. I had an abnormal test result and have to go for further testing to see what the cause was. That appointment is June 10, so if you could pray that it was just a fluke, or that it is nothing serious, I would so appreciate it!

blog siggy

The What If?

10436248_10104325069912089_6017621831250782194_n

Sometimes we ask ourselves a lot of “what if?” type questions. Or, maybe that’s just me. I’m a worrier though, as anyone who knows me can verify for you, should you doubt. I get bad test anxiety (which is terrible, since I’m in nursing school). I worry about the future. And I worry about the what ifs in life. And I mean, I can make up something so unlikely to happen and worry about it and stress myself out over it, that it is ridiculous. I’d like to think I’m just talented though.

10329094_10104324949877639_1791570486045034200_n

One of my most frequent worries is what would happen if I lost my husband. I know I’m not the only one who worries about losing a loved one, but it is constantly on my mind. When I was 14, my Dad passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. The last time I saw him, 4 days before he died, I was mean to him. Why? Because I was mad that my Mom wouldn’t let me go to Dairy Queen with my classmates. I had just finished 8th grade, and everyone was going out, except me. So when my Dad came by, I was mean to him, because I was mad. I was 14, and I was mad. Had I known that was the last time I’d be seeing him, I’d have been nice. I can’t even remember if I hugged and kissed him goodbye.

10489809_10104324937692059_4353284257936793582_n

So I always worry about Kalen dying. What if his last memory of me, before he dies, is us fighting? Or me being stupid and whiny? Did I tell him I loved him? Did I kiss him goodbye? I try not to be mad at him for any period of time. So far we haven’t had any huge, major fights. Yes, we argue. I like to pretend I’m perfect, but I can assure you that I’m not, and he’ll assure you of that as well. But we usually resolve it fairly quickly. I’m not a fighter. I like peace and quiet. I like things to be calm. So fighting and I aren’t the best of friends.

10394781_10104324950451489_5732129891898865764_n

But still, what if Kalen were to die? What if, at almost 31, I became a widow? Would I want to remarry? Would I ever love someone as much as him? We’re currently preventing a pregnancy, so I wouldn’t even have a child to remind me of him. I’d be alone. Kalen is not only my husband, but my best friend. I would be lost. Could I ever love someone else like I love him? I doubt it. Would I want to “settle” for a not-so-great love so I’m not alone until I die at a hopefully ripe old age? I don’t know. I can’t imagine being with anyone else, or anyone else being willing to put up with me (I can be a bit much, turns out). IN all honesty, I’d probably stay single and alone. I wouldn’t want to love anyone else.

10417482_10104324937143159_7881580740597255533_n

On the other side of things though, if I were to die today, I would absolutely want Kalen to move on, and find someone else. I would not want him to be alone. The thought of him being alone worries more than the thought of me being alone….haha. And this is mainly because he cannot properly make a bed. Hospital corners anyone? 

 

Of course, my what ifs are not limited to him dying. Trust me, there are way more that I could post about to further prove I’m a tad crazy. I won’t, but I could.

 

What are your “what if?” worries? Share them below!

blog siggy

New Year, New Me, & All That Jazz

Recently, I’ve gained weight. A lot of weight, actually. My diet hasn’t changed (although it needs to), and I haven’t worked out (again, I need to). What changed was that I finally got my blood sugar under control, and as a result, I gained almost 30 pounds from the beginning of October to now.

Do.Not.Want.

As a result of that horrifying wake up call, I have decided that I’m going to go with the cliche phrase, and get my act together. I have started tracking my food again using MyFitnessPal (add me!), and I plan on working out. While I’m thrilled that my sugars are normal after being a Type II diabetic since 2008, I’m not thrilled about the weight gain, or that my clothing no longer fits. I’m not thrilled that in order to wear knee high boots, I had to go up a size, and even those are tight. I’m not thrilled that my jeans are all tight and cut into my stomach, and I’m not thrilled that I’m so fat that sitting in certain desks on campus are uncomfortable.

I don’t want to lose weight for vanity’s sake. I want to lose weight for my health. I need to lose weight for my health.

So, I’m tracking, and I’ll be working out. I’ve set my calories to 1800 a day. When I met with my nutritionist, she suggested 2200 a day, and I actually laughed. When I’m eating healthy foods, that number is impossible. Now, I can hit that easily if I eat crap, but then I’m left feeling hungry. With healthy choices, I’m not left starving.

So, what did I eat today? I know you’re waiting with bated breath to find out!

Breakfast: 1 cup of dry oats, cooked in water. Mixed in, 1 teaspoon of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter, and 1 tablespoon of pure maple syrup. 401 calories.

Lunch: half a cup of lowfat cottage cheese, half a cup of grape tomatoes, 2 slices of oven roasted turkey, half of a multigrain sandwich thin from Brownberry, half of a tomato slice (1/4″ thick), 1 leaf of iceberg lettuce, and half of a slice of Sargento Ultra Thin Longhorn Colby. 226 calories.

Snack: 1 cup of green grapes. 104 calories.

Drinks: 2 cups of cranberry autumn tea with 6 packets of Splenda total. 24 calories.

Dinner: half a cup of beef flavored rice mix, half a cup of green beans with 1/3 tablespoon of Brummel and Brown, 1 cup of skim milk, a 4.15oz pork loin chop with Shake ‘n Bake. 479 calories.

Snack: 4 pieces of Dove dark chocolate (a stocking stuffer). 168 calories.

My total intake for the day was 1402 calories, so I’m under my goal by 398 calories. My lunch WOULD have been more, but I made it last night, and stupidly put the tomato slice on the sandwich ahead of time, so it was really soggy and gross. I ate half before I couldn’t stomach it any longer, and tossed it. As for breakfast, when I’m eating oatmeal, I find that a half cup of dry oats doesn’t satisfy. And as to the butter, I can’t explain it other than my Gma used to add a pat of it to my Cream of Wheat, and I think that’s why I do it. Either way, it’s tasty and fills me up. Next time, I’ll top it with some cinnamon I think.

Tomorrow will be a different breakfast (2 slices of sourdough bread from Healthy Life, 1 tablespoon of Brummel and Brown, 2 extra large eggs cooked in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, although I might switch it out, and ditch the B&B for some mashed up avocado – we’ll see how lazy I am). Lunch will be similar – sandwich thin with mustard, roasted chicken, 1 slice of the colby, a tomato slice (kept separate this time!), and some alfalfa sprouts, plus 2oz of extra sharp cheddar cheese and 3/4 cup of lowfat cottage cheese). My snack will be 1 cup of green grapes. Those put me at 1025 for the day. I’ll have 775 calories left for my dinner, and I’m hoping to feel better, and get a workout in before I head into work. I’m probably going to opt for my favorite – kettlebell swings!

With the stress of the upcoming semester already settling in (yay, nursing school!), I need to stay on top of my health. Last semester was terrible, health-wise, and I missed a lot of school and work. I don’t want to repeat that.

Also, I took some before pictures, measurements, and of course my weight (the pictures and measurements were done this evening, and the weight done the morning of January 1st). I am debating if I should make a separate post and include them or not. I’m in quite a few Facebook accountability groups, so that’s been a help to keep me on track too.

Anyway, this isn’t my only 2016 goal, but it’s a big one! I’ll post more of them, but I wanted to focus on this first, because quite frankly, I’m excited about it. 🙂

 

How is 2016 treating you!?

 

 

 

Let Me Brag

IMG_20151119_213900904

Guys, my husband is the greatest. I know you’re reading this and thinking “No Amber, MY husband is the best!” and I get where you’re coming from, I do.

But mine is the best, hands down. 😉

Seriously though – he works full time. I work 11 hours a week. He works hard to have enough money to pay for both of our cars, pay for our kittens, our car insurance, and everything else. The only things I pay for are stuff I buy in secret (you know, like makeup….), and my cell phone (we buy our minutes yearly through Straight Talk). He takes us out, puts money into our savings account, and always make sure I’m not without.

When he was still in school, he was working full time, taking classes full time, and still did a ton of stuff. He’s the one who always washed the laundry, dried it (or hung it), and brought it up. I used to fold it, and we’d both put away, but now that I’m deeper into nursing school, he’s doing it all. 

Dude, best husband ever.

He helps with cooking. I love to cook, I do, but sometimes my homework load laughs in my face, and I can’t. He comes home, after a long day at work, and cooks. He’ll clean up too.

He also is constantly getting me drinks, snacks, things I printed, or things I ask for in general. He’s the one who cleans the litter box, stops to pick up stuff last minute, and takes care of any technological needs I/we have.

When I say I was blessed with him, I mean it to the highest level. God truly gave me a gift when he sent Kalen to me. I’m cheesy – I believe in soul mates and love at first sight. That was just how it was for me when I met Kalen. And it was funny, because he wasn’t interested in a relationship, having just gotten out of one, but he changed his mind, and I am so thankful that he did.

And today, as the snow falls down thickly (so beautiful, you guys), Kalen took the time to take the cats to the vet (I went with, and rode in the back with them), and then he went to work to take care of something that had cropped up.

He’s awesome, I’m blessed.

10171240_667349813314495_3687448599113509048_nblog siggy